Will Smith responds to Academy’s 10-year ban from attending Oscars
Will Smith accepts his decade-long ban from the Academy Awards. The 53-year-old Best Actor winner responded Friday after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors decided to ban him from Oscars ceremonies and other Academy events for the next 10 years after he struck Chris Rock onstage during last month’s award show.
“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith said in a statement.
The Academy determined that “for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” per a letter sent by Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson and obtained by PEOPLE.
“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage,” they wrote.
“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers, and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented,” they added.
Rubin and Hudson went on to address Rock, 57, and Oscars hosts Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall. “We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast,” they said.
Smith has issued a public apology to Rock and he also formally resigned from the Academy a week ago.
“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy,” he said in a statement last Friday, April 1.
He added, “I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film.” Concluding, he announced his departure from the Academy: “So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”
‘Spider-Man Noir’ live-action series in the works at Amazon
A Spider-Man Noir live-action series is in the works at Amazon, GeekAfrique has learned via a Variety report. The untitled series will follow an older, grizzled superhero in 1930s New York City. An individual with knowledge of the project says that the show will be set in its own universe and the main character will not be Peter Parker.
This is the second known project based on the Sony-controlled Marvel characters at Amazon Prime Video and MGM+. It was previously announced that Amazon was moving forward with the series ‘Silk: Spider Society’ from showrunner Angela Kang, with several other shows in the works. It is unknown at this time which other Marvel characters will be featured in the other Amazon shows, though Sony currently controls over 900 such characters associated with the Spider-Man franchise.
The Spider-Man Noir comics originally debuted in 2009 as part of the Marvel Noir universe. That version of the iconic superhero lives in New York during the Great Depression. He is bitten by a spider hidden inside a stolen artifact, causing him to have visions of a spider-god who grants him superpowers. Nicolas Cage voiced the character in ‘Into the Spider-Verse’.
The Amazon show will be the first live-action iteration of Spider-Man Noir.
Sony has released multiple Spider-Man live-action films in the past and currently works with Marvel Studios on the rebooted film franchise starring Tom Holland via Columbia Pictures. Sony is also behind ‘Into the Spider-Verse’, which won the Academy Award for best animated film in 2019. Two sequels to that film are currently in the works, with the first — ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ — due out in June 2023.
‘Spartacus’ sequel series in the works
A sequel to hit historical drama series ‘Spartacus’ is in development, with Steven S. DeKnight, who created the original series, serving as showrunner and executive producer. ‘Spartacus’ was inspired by the story of the gladiator of the same name who incited a massive slave rebellion against Rome in the year 73 BC. Per the logline, the sequel series will be set after the defeat of Spartacus and his revolution, depicting “a new tale of treachery, deceit and blood unfolding beneath the foreboding shadow of Rome.”
The original show debuted in 2010, with Season 1 carrying the title ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’. Starz then debuted a prequel limited series, ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ in 2011, before producing two more seasons of the flagship titled ‘Vengeance’ (2012) and ‘War of the Damned’ (2013).
The sequel series will be produced by Lionsgate Television.
‘God of War’ live-action TV series ordered at Amazon
A live-action adaptation of PlayStation’s hit video game franchise ‘God of War’ has been ordered to series at Amazon’s Prime Video, with ‘Wheel of Time’ boss Rafe Judkins set as showrunner. Based on the massively popular 2018 video game, the show follows Kratos, the God of War, who, after exiling himself from his blood-soaked past in ancient Greece, hangs up his weapons forever in the Norse realm of Midgard, per Amazon’s description. When his beloved wife dies, Kratos sets off on a dangerous journey with his estranged son Atreus to spread her ashes from the highest peak — his wife’s final wish. Kratos soon realizes the journey is an epic quest in disguise, one which will test the bonds between father and son, and force Kratos to battle new gods and monsters for the fate of the world.
“‘God of War’ is a compelling, character-driven franchise that we believe will captivate our global customers as much with its expansive and immersive worlds as its rich storytelling,” Vernon Sanders, head of global television at Amazon Studios, said. “We are honored to share in the adventure of exploring the God of War mythology in such a momentous way with Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, and Santa Monica Studio.”
The ‘God of War’ TV series marks the latest show based on a video game that is either in the works or in production, including Amazon’s ‘Fallout’ adaptation from ‘Westworld’ creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ (based on another PlayStation property), Paramount+’s ‘Halo’, the Anthony Mackie-led ‘Twisted Metal’ at Peacock, among others.
“We are so proud and excited to be working with our friends at Amazon Studios and our partners at PlayStation Productions to adapt this beautiful and heart-breaking game into a premium live-action series,” Katherine Pope, president of Sony Pictures Television Studios, said.”
A sequel to the 2018 ‘God of War’ game, titled ‘God of War: Ragnarok’, was just released last month. At last week’s Game Awards, it won for best narrative, action/adventure game, score/music, audio design, performance for Kratos actor Christopher Judge and innovation in accessibility.